Hue, the capital of the Nguyen dynasty, is home to not only Vietnam’s last ruling monarchy in 143 years, but also to a number of priceless tangible and intangible heritages such as palaces, royal tombs, garden houses, art forms and royal cuisine.
|The Hue Imperial Citadel.
Over the past 20 years, the Vietnamese government has placed considerable efforts into preserving Hue’s many cultural heritages.
The Complex of Hue Monuments has the honour of being the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in Vietnam. Royal Literature on Hue Royal Architecture is the fifth artefact to be recognised by UNESCO, following recognition of the Hue Complex of Monuments in 1993, the Hue Royal Court Music in 2003, and the Nguyen dynasty’s wooden blocks and royal records, which were listed in the Memory of the World Regional Register for Asia and Pacific regions in 2009 and 2014 respectively.
A number of projects concerning the planning, preservation and promotion of Hue’s ancient relics until 2020 were approved by the Prime Minister.
"Over the past 22 years, much has been done to preserve Hue’s cultural heritages. More than US$65 million has been poured into preservation and restoration works.
From being solely dependent on investment from foreign interests and the central government, the local authorities have become capable of providing 80% of direct investment sources for the preservation and promotion of Hue’s cultural heritages," said Phan Thanh Hai, Director of the Hue Monuments Conservation Center.
Due to the quality of work done thus far, UNESCO has suggested turning Hue into a standard center for restoration of the world’s cultural heritages in the Asia-Pacific region. Much attention has also been paid to protecting Hue’s intangible cultural heritages, according to Phan Thanh Hai.
"Hue is rich with a large number of diverse, intangible cultural heritages, and in addition to their preservation and restoration, finding proper ways to promote their values in modern life is also of great importance.
For example, we’ve created venues to promote Hue’s royal court music performances and re-enacted royal ceremonies, such as the Nam Giao and Xa Tac worship rituals and royal guard changing ceremony," said Hai.
Performances of royal court music have been held on the Thai Hoa palace grounds, at To Mieu Temple which houses shrines to each of the Nguyen emperors,and inside Duyet Thi Duong theatre.
This is to better introduce the art form’s unique values to a modern audience and foreign visitors interested in this rich history.
Lessons on Hue’s cultural heritages and their values are taught at schools and are brought into public focus at many cultural festivals taking place across Hue.